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August 22, 2013

Wednesday practice notes

Today ended Texas A&M's two-a-days and, in all likelihood, all the media access for fall camp. Our time has become progressively shorter this week, and even though things were pretty relaxed today, there are signs the shift into season mode is starting -- for instance, the offense's pace has become substantially quicker this week.

Looks like there were a few more nicks today: Brandon Williams was back in the boot; Toney Hurd was out, as was Tyrone Taylor and Malcome Kennedy. Deshazor Everett also remains out.

Ricky Seals-Jones was back out with the 1s again today, with Mike Evans; Nehemiah Hicks and Cameron Clear were playing tight end for the opening play. There was a little bit of rotation, with Sabian Holmes also getting in. On defense, the starting front four -- Julien Obioha, Gavin Stansbury, Kirby Ennis and Alonzo Williams were on the field, along with Donnie Baggs, Steven Jenkins and Jordan Mastrogiovanni -- the first time we've seen a base 4-3 all fall. Nate Askew also got in. Clay Honeycutt, Devante Harris, Tramain Jacobs and Howard Matthews were in the secondary.

On Manziel's first play, he handed off to Ben Malena for a short gain. On the second, he completed a quick pass to RSJ for about 6, which would have gotten them into about a 3rd and 2 in a normal situation. On the next play, we saw Manziel scramble for the first time this fall, and he juked Jacobs right out of his shoes and got a first down. There wasn't much time to celebrate, as his next pass was forced over the middle to RSJ and was picked off by Steven Jenkins -- almost the exact same play Jenkins intercepted in the Saturday scrimmage.

Matt Joeckel had the 2s today, and he had Trey Williams in the backfield with him. His receivers included Sebastian Larue, Jeremy Tabuyo, Travis Labhart and Gaston Lamascus. The defense was a lot different from what we've seen: Hardreck Walker and Jay Arnold were in the middle, with Tyrell Taylor and Brandon Alexander at the end spots. Tommy Sanders and Darian Claiborne were the linebackers, with Alex Sezer, Tavares Garner, Noel Ellis, Floyd Raven and Sam Moeller in the secondary.

It wasn't a good series for Joeckel, who found himself under a lot of pressure and wasn't able to make quick decisions to get the ball out. After a handoff to Williams for a couple of yards, Tyrell Taylor got into the backfield for a sack, followed by Hardreck Walker doing the same thing.

(Final?) Observations:

The backup job probably hasn't been decided yet, but if you go off of what we saw the last couple days, Kenny Hill's your guy. He made plays, got the ball out and didn't get frazzled under pressure.

Trey Williams should get the vast majority of carries behind Malena for the first few weeks of the season at least. He's the big threat and Brandon Williams just hasn't been able to stay on the football field.

RSJ and Quiv Gonzalez are going to play; so will Sebastian Larue. Can Tabuyo be the fourth of the freshmen? That's the only question.

The offensive line is fine when it comes to pass blocking; run blocking looks like it can use work. Either that or the combination of Alonzo Williams and Kirby Ennis are going to be dominant in 2013.

Donnie Baggs and Steven Jenkins were the best linebackers in camp, just as you hoped they'd be.

If Everett's around, the secondary is going to be solid, whether Honeycutt or Raven starts.

The receivers are better than national people think. Kennedy and RSJ will stun people, and Sabian Holmes will make an impact too. And I was ready to write him off a couple weeks ago. He's done a very nice job this camp.

The freshmen DTs are ready. With the exception of Victor Davis, so are the corners.

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